Did Cliffjumper turn up amongst the Chinese imports in the early 1990s? If so, that's probably slightly different again. (By comparison, the Bumblebee is a different shade of yellow to the original.)
There were actually two companies that produced the keychains, creating one particular variation. The second company was Basic Fun; their releases had a small rectangular black plastic fob on the chain itself, with the company logo. The first company, Fun4All, obviously didn't have these. The other noticeable difference with the keychains compared to the standard toys, of course, is that there's a loop moulded into the bumper to attach the chain.
You'll probably find useful information at Fred's variant pages, but as Geocities is no more, it's only a pictureless archive version. At least someone had the presence of mind and altruism to mirror Geocities, or these great pages would be gone. www.oocities.org/futuristgroup/vminibots.html
Some pics of mine (freshly taken, looks like i need to dust lol!)
Most of them are variants (all of the minispies are different!) - one of the seasprays is a different colout, I think thats fading.. - The beachcombers either have different (c) marks or dunlop tyres. - One of the bumblebee's is a keychain, the others are different colours (may be age!). - the 2 gears on the sides are the same, middle one is a mex variant with different grill and face paint app.
The thing with Mini's is that once you start... you can't stop!!
Whoa! I had never noticed that. Whenever I've seen pictures of that figure I've not looked closely enough to see it is a unique mould. Wow. So maybe Hasbro wanted six minibots and dropped that one because it's so close to cliff. I have learned something today!
Bumblejumper is Cliffjumper in yellow right? Nothing more than that? Was that a rare colouring error then?
Bumblejumper was indeed issued on Cliffjumper cards. But what clouds understanding of the situation is that there were also yellow Cliffjumpers issued on Cliffjumper cards - they have a lot of visual similarities which can be conflated in peoples memories over time (My Cliffjumper is yellow and initially I didn't even know the red ones existed, but I never knowingly saw a Bumblejumper in the wild).
I got a Bumblejumper years ago, it's not in the best condition, but after learning about the little guy, back in the 90s early 2000s, I had to get one. The car is the most boxy of the four moulds and for me is probably the weakest of the four, theres not much in it, but it looks a little plain compared to the others, but the face is full of character and makes the robot mode really stand out.
I can see why they didn't release it, or rather why they didn't release one of them as they are all very similar. At the same time I'm surprised no one has ever released in amongst the other minibot reissues. And if not as Bumblejumper then as Sedan in any of its Mexican colours. Especially the green one and even more especially with that weird faction symbol sticker.
And while I'm at it I want that green and Purple Pick Up (Gears).